For the millions of Americans with food allergies, the importance of being educated about food allergy and prepared to treat a reaction is not to be underestimated. On March 28, the first of the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network’s (FAAN) 16th annual Food Allergy Conferences will be held in Baltimore, Md. The conference will help both those who have food allergies and those who care for people with food allergies. Whether the food allergy is newly diagnosed or has been managed for years, there is something to be learned at this conference.
The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), which began hosting the conferences in 1994, urges everyone to “Take Action, Prevent Reactions.” Attendance at the conference can help anyone reach this goal, and the knowledge gained can literally mean the difference between life and death.
As the prevalence of food allergy increases, particularly among children, the need for accurate and current information about food allergy is crucial. One study released last fall by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed an 18 percent increase in the number of children with food allergies between 1997 and 2007. An estimated 3 million children in the U.S. have food allergies.
“These conferences are designed to give people the tools they need to safely manage food allergies – to show them how to ‘Take Action, Prevent Reactions,'” said FAAN CEO Julia Bradsher. “But they also link people with others who share the same challenges, letting people know they are not alone.”
FAAN’s conferences offer insight on the most recent research findings about food allergy as well as discussion and networking opportunities with families, caregivers, teachers, child care providers, and school staff. Special sessions are also held for teens, nurses, and registered dietitians.
Topics at the all-day conference also include strategies for avoiding reactions, how to eat well with food allergies, emergency preparedness, tips for dining out with food allergies, and lessons learned from reactions in schools.
In Baltimore, Dr. Robert A. Wood, a nationally respected leader in the field of allergy research, will be a featured speaker. Wood is a professor of pediatrics and international health and the director of pediatric allergy and immunology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, as well as the author of Food Allergies for Dummies.
“This conference is remarkable in its capacity to bring together the best in science with real life approaches to dealing with food allergy,” Wood said. “When we sat down to plan our first conference 16 years ago, I was expecting great things. However, my expectations have been far exceeded with the success of these meetings. Aside from all of the great information that is provided, I have been most surprised by the personal relationships that have developed among the conference attendees.”
The Baltimore conference will run from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and will be held at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel, 300 S. Charles St.
Other conferences will be held on April 18 in Rosemont, Ill., and on May 9 in Tarrytown, N.Y.
Founded in 1991, the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) is the world leader in information about food allergy, a potentially fatal condition that afflicts approximately 12 million Americans, or one out of every 25. A nonprofit organization based in Fairfax, Va., FAAN has 30,000 members in the U.S., Canada, and 62 other countries. It is dedicated to increasing public awareness of food allergy and its consequences, to educating people about the condition, and to advancing research on behalf of all those affected by it. FAAN provides information and educational resources about food allergy to patients, their families, schools, health professionals, pharmaceutical companies, the food industry, and government officials. For more information, please visit FAAN at http://www.foodallergy.org, http://www.faankids.org, and http://www.faanteen.org.